Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Plain packaging works. It makes tobacco taste unpleasant. BMJ Tobacco Control blog

Will that heading bring some supporters of plain packaging here? I wonder.

The blog post in question still says 'No one has commented yet'. This isn't true because I commented already, but they don't like what I said, clearly.

A telephone poll taken in November and ending three days after the ban came into legal effect in Australia in December is the basis of this claim that plain packaging works. Five hundred and thirty-six smokers from Australia were telephoned (pop 23+ million with smoking rate estimated at 20 per cent). Three-quarters were smoking a plain pack and reportedly enjoyed their tobacco less and thought about quitting more than the quarter that smoked from a branded pack.

And that's it – that is what passes for research and evidence in pursuit of tobacco control.

The comment that they didn't publish:
This law was meant to be about protecting children, not adults. And why is a respected medical journal touting the 'proof' that a policy 'works' in less than a year of its implementation, when it depends on kids being attracted less to smoking and buying less tobacco. Don't tell me it takes less than a year to get reliable information on their perceptions and buying habits – bearing in mind that any purchases will be from illegal sources.
Arguments also can be found in The Guardian.


Vova said...

I commented on the BMJ blog too - but it didn't get past moderation. The gist is in my comment at

Rursus said...

Plain packaging works?

"Nearly 70% of smokers say they want to quit" - US Center for Disease Control

"70% of smokers want to quit" - ASH Wales

"69% of Scottish smokers report they would like to stop smoking" - ASH Scotland

"Research shows over 80% of smokers want to quit" - ASH Australia website

The new study on plain packaging from Australia seems to confirm that nothing has changed.
What the study shows is, that in 2012 fewer smokers wanting to quit.

Pat Nurse MA said...

I won't bother to comment over at the BMJ because they don't want balanced facts but propaganda.

Common sense tells me that if you buy tobacco in an unbranded pack then you have no idea of what type of tobacco you are smoking. The taste could be entirely different to that you're used to.

For example, I despise Old Holborn tobacco but I like Golden Virginia. If I buy a pack that's not branded how do I know which one I'm buying? If I'm given any old shit - such as OH because the retailer doesn't know what they're giving me either - then of course my smoke will be unsatisfactory because its the one I don't like.

My biggest concern is what consumer rights do people in Aus have if they keep getting handed the wrong type of tobacco? Can they go back to the store and keep on changing it until they hit lucky and get the taste and brand of their choice?

I think the plain packaging scam was designed to ensure that smokers have no choice. The antis clearly know that tobacco tastes different and clearly hope that smokers will be so pissed off at continually getting tobacco brands they dislike in hope that they get fed up of being ripped off and quit.

That sort of "study" I can believe - but as you say - that doesn't tell me whether it has reduced youth smoking or not or stopped adults from smoking. If I was in Aus, I'd grow my own to be sure I get what I like.

Clearly this is yet another wheeze to force smokers to quit by fair means or foul.

Next, no doubt, chocolate will come in plain packs. Those who like white chocolate and are continually given the wrong brand - ie dark chocolate - would probably end up giving up on chocolate too.

It seems all consumers are equal except some are more equal than others. Those who like the same brands and products as Simon Chapman will be protected. Those that like what he personally hates will be stripped of their rights.

*Slow handclap* for the bigots in Australia who have no damn right to stick their noses into UK business nor try and make UK law.

We should keep on telling our MPs that the Aussies don't live, work, buy, or more importantly, vote in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Living in Australia and recently coming back to this pastime of mine I was shocked to find out that the freshly-sealed pouches of drum tobacco has indeed disappeared. They have been replaced by crappy plastic pouches which don't have reusable adhesive. I ended up buying a cheap Chinese faux leather pouch to stop my pockets filling with this dry tobacco. And yes, it certainly doesn't taste like it used to before! My local petrol station reduced their stock also. But at least they still cater for those looking for their fix of white ox. I can just imagine these demountable government run processing facilities repacking all those pouches on a big steel table under hot work lights.

Goodbye Australia, I'll be living in America for the next few years. From what I've heard the situation is not as dire over there. I sincerely hope you manage to sort yourself out in the time being, or I will have a lot of heated letters to write.